Thomas Raeymaekers, Belgium, Team Novo Nordisk Ambassador, portrait
Hometown: Emblem, Belgium
Age of diagnosis: 17
"I never give up: I learn from my experiences and go my own way."

Since childhood, Raeymaekers dreamed only of being a professional cyclist. The Belgian started competing at the age of 10. As a junior, he consistently finished on the podium and rode for the same team as the UCI Junior World Champion atthat time. When he was 17, he unexpectedly lost 8 kilogram and was hospitalized. While in the hospital, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. To pass time during his admittance, he watched the Tour of Turkey.

Initially, Raeymaekers doubted that he could continue racing, but after discovering Team Novo Nordisk, he realized it was possible to have diabetes and compete. He reached out to Team Novo Nordisk for guidance and by the following year, Raeymaekers had signed with the professional squad.

As someone who never dreamed of anything but becoming a professional racer, Raeymaekers feels he is truly living the dream. Raeymaekers considers finishing the Tour of Turkey — the same race that kept him entertained while in the hospital — his biggest accomplishment.

In June 2015, Raeymaekers retired from pro cycling and assumed a new role as team ambassador.